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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat


Updated: Jul 19, 2021

The 284th review!

It’s a real kick in the pants when you realize your days off starts a week later than you thought it did. Oh well. I did manage to snag five movies from Family Video so I’ll be good for a bit. From the pile, Dear and I checked out...

Beetlejuice (1988). Family Video rental.

Imagine my shock when I realized, nine years in and I never reviewed this one. I came to the conclusion that I needed to remedy that immediately because this movie is great. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are a happy couple living an idyllic life in their very big home in Connecticut. One day while on a drive they swerve to miss a dog, crash through a bridge and then tragically drown.

Unfortunately for them they become stuck at their home as ghosts only to have some New York artsy-types move in who happen to bring their terrible tastes along with them. I love how over-the-top ridiculous the wife and her interior decorato are. For almost the entire movie almost every word that comes out of her mouth is designed to get you to dislike her. It’s hilarious.

The ghost couple, the Maitlands, don’t like the changes being made so they decide they’re going to scare them off. Problem is, they’re new to the whole ghost thing so they’re not exactly good at it. They end up turning for help from someone they don’t quite understand and it ends up going horribly wrong.

When you look at everything that happens in this movie, the action, the terrible effects and the goofy characters, there’s no way this movie should work as well as it does. I mean, Alec Baldwin doesn’t like the movie and was very unhappy with his performance. But this movie is wonderful and you can point to one person for why this movie is so great, and it’s Batman himself, Michael Keaton.

The way he plays the character is so much fun to watch. He’s only on screen for slightly less than 15 minutes but he absolutely steals the show. If you ask anyone about it, they will mention one of two things; either Michael Keaton or the “Day-O” scene. Fun fact, when the actor Glen Shadix (Otho in this movie, or Associate Bob from Demolition Man) passed away the last song at his memorial service was “Day-O.” As as aside, that scene must have been so much fun to film.

Keaton adlibbed about 90-percent of his dialogue, and it’s so funny because he doesn’t just chew the scenery, he absolutely devours it. While Alec Baldwin wasn’t a fan of his own performance, this was Keaton’s favorite movie he’s been in. It shows too, Tim Burton just gave him the green light to do whatever he wanted and he kills it. Beetlejuice flips from threatening, to joking, to charming and boarish sometimes in just a single sentence!

Remembering this movie, Beetlejuice was the one thing that stuck out in my memories. I mean, he even had his own cartoon! Watching it again, I was surprised by how little screen time he had. It just goes to show how big an impact he had because no second he’s on screen is wasted, he commands the spotlight because he’s so damn entertaining.

The other characters serve their purpose well and are good in their own ways. I didn’t care for them when I was younger, but the father and step mother who move in are just silly enough to make a fun pair. The little shots they take at one another and the nose-in-the-air interior decorator/occultist that follows around the step-mom is another great character.

It’s weird how the movie will switch from goofy to intense at the drop of a hat. Beetlejuice is such a fun character to watch, but everything about him is insanely evil. I read about a bunch of people that were considered to play the titular character and I couldn’t see it. There were big names, great actors and incredibly funny people on that list, but I’m so glad Tim Burton was able to talk Michael Keaton into playing the role despite him initially turning it down. The word is a better place for it.

9 Dr. Chainsaws!


Beetlejuice 1988

92 minutes Sci-fi & fantasy Ages 9-12 Michael Keaton, Academy Award winner Geena Davis, Alex Baldwin and Winona Ryder star in director Tim Burton's comic twist on supernatural horror tales--Beetlejuice. When a couple of nice, young homebody ghosts (Baldwin and Davis) try to haunt the pretentious humans who have moved into their house, they ask for help from a demonic wraith (Keaton) they cannot control in this comic fantasy that mixes the quick and the dead with a laugh and a fright.

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